JOHNNY NELSON: Someone should have stepped in to stop Anthony Joshua’s post-fight meltdown, but is it any surprise he cracked following defeat against Oleksandr Usyk?
- Anthony Joshua had a post-fight meltdown after losing against Oleksandr Usyk
- The Brit failed to reclaim his world championship belts in the rematch in Jeddah
- Joshua went on a bizarre tirade in the ring after the result had been announced
- Someone should have stepped in to stop 32-year-old Joshua from melting down
Someone from Anthony Joshua’s camp should have stopped his post-fight public meltdown as the fact he cracked was no real surprise.
This guy is still just 32 years old, he’s been the poster boy for our sport for seven years, he carries an entourage and a weight of expectation from the British public that few could handle.
There’s an expectancy about his behaviour — the polite boy next door, the smiling ambassador, the role model to kids — and then we expect him to smash his opponent to bits in the boxing ring.
Anthony Joshua (pictured) had a post-fight meltdown as he made a bizarre in-ring speech
Joshua threw Oleksandr Usyk’s championship belts out the ring before returning minutes later
His pride had been severely dented by the manner of his first loss to Oleksandr Usyk, it had burned away at him for 11 long months.
He then fought in a way that I believe was the best he had ever fought, but still couldn’t beat him. Usyk is just too good and when you are used to being a champion that is hard to accept.
So when he stomps around like a spoilt child who has just thrown his Monopoly board up in the air, should we really be so shocked?
Joshua wraps his arm around Usyk as he congratulates the Ukrainian in his post-fight speech
Usyk (above) celebrates his title defence by posing for pictures with his heavyweight belts
When I saw Eddie Hearn at the airport on Sunday morning he said Anthony had no recollection of what he had said the night before.
It’s not something I’d choose to remember either but it shows how he was boiling with frustration, and emotion took over. Let’s not forget Tyson Fury has said a few outrageous things in the past but we moved on.
The swearing and ranting is something we, the public, don’t associate with Joshua.
But those who have been with him in camp will have seen this before on a smaller scale when things aren’t going to plan and they had a duty to step in and stop their man making a fool of himself. Even if that means you taking a dig in the process, there would have been more dignity to this defeat.
Joshua broke down during his post-fight press conference (pictured above) in Saudi Arabia
I saw AJ afterwards and he was clearly sad and dejected, then he had his little breakdown in the press conference too. I get it, trust me I know, defeat hurts. It wasn’t nice to see though because he looked so erratic, almost out of his mind.
His rant was about how we should give him more credit for where he has come from. Joshua only started boxing as an 18-year-old, compared to Usyk who has been boxing since he was a little boy.
Usyk is a warrior. He has fought on the front line for his country. When it came to the crucial ninth and 10th rounds of the fight, he knew what it took to compose himself and reset.
He had the knowledge of what it takes to dig deeper and come through positions of difficulty. He was just too good for Joshua.
So what next? Joshua has to push the entourage away and talk to those close to him, the ones he loves and trusts to tell him the truth.
The Brit will now take some time away from boxing to work out the next steps of his career
Sure, there are still attractive fights with big purses out there but I’m just not convinced he is happy with that. Is he content to be a backing dancer to the main act? I don’t see Joshua beating Usyk and I think Tyson Fury is better than both.
Some fighters are happy to keep making the money, moving from one challenger to the next. I’m not sure that’s for him.
I know a lot of rich men, former fighters, who have plenty of money but it doesn’t make them happy because they have no drive in life. When you have been a champion you want to be remembered as one, there’s a bitterness when you aren’t held in the same regard. It is a big mental challenge.
This is a massive decision for Joshua, where he goes from here. He has plenty of fights left in him but he has to make sure he continues for the right reason and the right goal.
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